Episode 42: Overcoming Hunger Phobia

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Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the enormity of weight loss? In this episode, Renee shares how to easily turn a vicious cycle of weight gain and declining energy into a virtuous cycle of increasing energy, health and vitality. And we'll give some long overdue respect to the much maligned hunger, learning how hunger can actually cause us to enjoy food more.

Transcript

Renee Stephens: Welcome to Inside Out Weight Loss. I’m your host Renee Stephens, and together we’re accessing the control panel of your mind/body system, bringing ease and joy to your weight loss journey and fullness to the rest of your life. On today’s show, how to easily turn your vicious cycle into a virtuous cycle, and giving some overdue respect to hunger.

Renee Stephens: Over time you start feeling better and better and better because a little change in your diet makes you feel a little bit better, which gives you a little bit more energy, which makes you want to do a little bit more to reach out, to be a bit more positive, to keep your success journal, to connect with other people, to share your story, and the more you do the better you feel, and before you know it you’ve changed your life.

Renee Stephens: You know, I really feel sorry for hunger. It gets such a bad rap. You hear it all over the place. You hear it in ads for the latest diet book or diet program where they say, “Oh, you’ll never be hungry”. What’s the implication? That hunger is a terrible thing. That hunger is the enemy. And people will say, “Oh my gosh, well it was wonderful. I was never hungry. Oh, how terrific that is”. And you know what, I’ll tell you something, that hunger, people don’t feel near enough hunger in our society.

Renee Stephens: So if you go to run a marathon or half marathon and you don’t lose weight, it would be because you increase your intake to the amount or above what you are now burning. I did this, I ran one marathon years ago, and I thought well for sure I’ll lose weight. But I didn’t lose weight. I gained like two or three pounds, and I was really bummed out. I said, “Well what’s the point of that. I’m not going to do that again, that’s no fun”, because my appetite went up and I started eating more, and I ate, I slightly overachieved in that department, so I a couple pounds.

Renee Stephens: So lets take a moment to arrive and be present. Be present for this episode of Inside Out Weight Loss, and more importantly, be present with ourselves. Let this episode be your own mini vacation, right in the middle or the beginning or the end of your day. Allow it to be a vacation where you truly relax, kick back and let go, surrendering to your own highest benefits, surrendering to your own highest good. Because that’s what this time is all about. This time is about you. It’s about being present with you. It’s about uncovering whatever has been holding you back from living your dreams. From having the body you want and living the life that you want to live. Maybe it’s the life that you’ve wanted to live all of your life. Maybe it’s a dream that you’ve had, and that dream may be clear or it may be fuzzy. It doesn’t matter. This time is for you. It’s dedicated exclusively to achieving your dreams and your desires. So become fully present with you because you do deserve it. You’re listening to this show for a reason. It’s no accident. So open up, be present and receive whatever it is that’s here for you. And while you’re at it, take a moment to open up energetically, open up your heart to all of the other listeners of this show, across space and time. They are kindred spirits. They’re on the same journey that you’re on. And feel your heart open and connect to them. Send them your support, and feel theirs come back to you magnified many, many, many times over. Feel this collective energy support you and pull you, almost as if you’re floating down a beautiful river on the perfect day. And as you’re floating down this river and the weather is just right, the air is just the way that you love it, perhaps there’s movement in the air, perhaps there’s quiet and calm, it’s exactly as you like. And as you’re floating along, supported by the connection to all the others out there, allow your intent for this episode to arise and present itself to you, whatever it is. Perhaps it’s simply to be present and enjoy. Or perhaps it’s to learn something important for your progress. Or maybe today is about forgiving yourself, or perhaps forgiving others. Whatever it is, allow it to arise. My intent, as always, is to allow you to achieve yours, and my mission is to eradicate the weight struggle, enabling you to achieve and share your soul’s gift. I’m so happy that you’ve joined me today.

Renee Stephens: Speaking of forgiving others, I’d like to share with you some comments by one of our listeners named Vicki. She writes, “I just wanted to say thank you for your podcast, as they have been a real revelation to me.” She goes on to say, “Four weeks later and seven pounds lighter”, she started, she wanted to say “thank you”. And then she continues, “A major revelation came early one morning when I could not sleep. It was about 5AM and I wasn’t quite ready to get up, so I just put on one of your podcasts whilst have asleep. It was the one on limiting beliefs, and I could hear your voice in the distance saying, “What is your limiting belief?” I immediately said, “My mom”, in my head. It was such a revelation, it woke me up. In that moment I realized having watched my mom swing from a size 16 to a 10 to a 14 to a 22, going from almost bingeing to strict control, I’d resigned myself to the fact that I could never be naturally slim or truly control my relationship with food. I’ve now done my research and it’s simply not true. I now intend to stay healthy and see what size my body settle at and I’ll be happy with that. I now do not eat from breadbaskets in restaurants, and I’ve actually begun to feel full and leave food on my plate. Whilst checking to see if I’m actually hungry, I realized I was eating a lot through anxiety, so I’ve stepped up my stress relief by walking my dog a lot more. Thank you for making me tune in to my body in a new way and take some time for me. I feel more energetic and stronger than I’ve felt in a long time”. So it’s wonderful to hear from you Vicki, and thank you so much for writing and sharing.

Renee Stephens: Here’s what another listener writes: “Since listening to you, I have for absolutely the first time in my life started to notice a change in the way I think about and interact with food and weight loss. As a woman whose struggled for years with disordered eating I think I just began to accept that this was the way my life was going to be, always holding on to those last 15 pounds. I don’t know how you’ve done it, since no other costly therapist could, but you resonate with me and I feel like you really, really get it. You’re a calming influence in my day, you fill me with hope, and you’ve helped me rediscover the strong and amazing person that has been hiding just behind this food addiction for so long.” That is such a wonderful comment. I especially like the part where she says, “You helped me rediscover the strong and amazing person that has been hiding behind this food addiction for so long”. And isn’t it true for so many of us, that there is a strong and amazing person hiding behind all this food stuff, this self criticism stuff, and that’s what this journey is about. That’s what Inside Out Weight Loss is all about.

Renee Stephens: You know, sometimes people say to me, “Oh my goodness, this is so overwhelming. I have so much weight to lose”, or “I have so many limiting beliefs, I have so many limitations.” It may not even be a lot of weight. It may be that you just tried many, many times in the past to lose your weight and it seems like a Herculean task to make any lasting changes, if in fact it’s possible. And one of the things that I like to think about, I remember in fact specifically, I think it was the first group program that I ever ran. There was a woman I was working with and she was about 100 pounds overweight, and she said to me, “You know Renee, I am so tired that I can barely get myself even to push the vacuum around my house. That used to be my only exercise, and I can’t even do it now. And when I think about going from where I am, addicted to chocolate…”, she used to eat a bag of Hershey’s Kisses a day I think, plus more, she says, “thinking about where I am and how far I have to go, it’s just so discouraging. I feel like I haven’t got the energy.” And I tell you what, she really didn’t have the energy, because what happens, you start gaining weight, at a certain point you may have some health problems, this was an elderly woman and she’d had some health problems, some knee problems, this problem, that problem, and it seems like where she wanted to be was so far away. And yet I said to her, “Yeah, I really understand, and when you think about how you got this way, what was it like?” And she said, “Well, you know, I just got a little bit more tired and ate a little bit more and gained a little bit more and so on and so forth, and one day I wake up and here I am.” And I said, “Well you know what, the way that you are going to be, the way you want to be, in other words, how you’re going to get there, is exactly the same way that you got here. It’s the same, except it’s in reverse.” So that vicious cycle that you’ve been in is going to turn around and become a virtuous cycle. It goes the opposite direction. How does that work? Well it works like this. So today you’re going to stand up and do some vacuuming and you’re going to eat a little bit healthier. And because you eat a little bit healthier and you get a little bit of exercise, you’re going to feel a little bit better, so that tomorrow you’re going to think, “Wow, well I did it yesterday and I am feeling a little bit better, so maybe I can do the same or a little tiny bit more today.” And so the next day you do the same or a little tiny bit more and you’re feeling really good about that. And so you keep doing that. And over time, it doesn’t mean that it’s a linear pattern, there may be some stops and starts along the way, that’s just fine, just as it was going the other direction. But over time you start feeling better and better and better because a little change in your diet makes you feel a little bit better, which gives you a little bit more energy, which makes you want to do a little bit more to reach out, to be a bit more positive, to keep your success journal, to connect with other people, to share your story, and the more you do the better you feel. And before you know it, you’ve changed your life. That’s the virtuous cycle. And that is as easy to get yourself into as taking a single step. Because how do you know that that one positive thing that you do isn’t the first step to a virtuous momentum building cycle that’s going to have you feeling better and better and better? How do you know that that’s not the case? You didn’t know it when you were going the other direction, so you might not recognize it this time. But what if it were? Think about that for a moment, because we’re about to take our break. And when we come back I’m going to talk with you about something I call ‘hunger phobia’, the much maligned hunger pain and why hunger may not be the villain that you have thought. So lets take a break now to support our sponsors. This is Renee Stephens and you’re listening to Inside Out Weight Loss on Personal Life Media.

Renee Stephens: We’re back now. Before the break we were talking about how that vicious cycle through a single step or two becomes a virtuous cycle. Does it remind you of any other concepts that we’ve talked about, maybe something like continuous improvement? That’s right. Little steps create big momentum. And now I’d like to talk to you about hunger phobia. Yes, hunger phobia. You know, I really feel sorry for hunger. It gets such a bad rap. You here it all over the place. You here it in ads for the latest diet book or diet program where they say, “Oh, you’ll never be hungry.” What’s the implication? That hunger is a terrible thing. That hunger is the enemy. And people will say, “Oh my gosh, well it was wonderful. I was never hungry. Oh, how terrific that is.” And you know what, I’ll tell you something, that hunger, people don’t feel near enough hunger in our society. Hunger, in my opinion, has really gotten a bad rap. Hunger is a great thing. In fact, it is an extraordinary thing, something that we should cultivate and nurture. Have I lost my mind? Well, that’s possible. But lets think about this, lets talk about this just a little bit. What does hunger do? Hunger changes over time, and you may remember when we were talking about the secret to the metabolism mystery, why it is that some people say, “Oh my gosh, you know, I have the metabolism of a mouse and therefore I can never lose weight”, or is it a bird, I don’t know. Hummingbirds do seem to burn a lot of calories as a matter of fact, as do mice now that I think about it. Anyway, they think they have a very slow metabolism, and that may in fact be true, but that’s not the reason that people are overweight. The reason that people are overweight and the reason that people are naturally slender, lets start with naturally slender, the reason that people are naturally slender is that they automatically match their intake with their burn rate. Your burn rate is your metabolism, and they’re intake, the calories that they consume, matches the calories that they burn. Calories in equal calories out. If your calories in equal your calories out then you will maintain your weight. If that weight is a slender weight then you will maintain a slender weight. So therefore, if you maintain a slender weight, as naturally slender people do very easily, then you are somehow magically matching your intake to your burn rate. It doesn’t mean that you have a high burn rate or a low burn rate. All it means is that you match it. And I tell you, I’ve met people like this. My grandfather for example was an extraordinarily sedentary guy. He would sit in his chair most of the day and contemplate the meaning of life as he was older. But he wasn’t overweight and he ate very, very little because he matched, he automatically matched his metabolism with his intake, so he wasn’t overweight and he burned very few calories, so he ate very few calories. So on the other hand, if you have, an athlete, if you’ve ever been to a marathon or even an Iron Man Triathlon, an Iron Man Triathlon is when you swim a mile and, I hope I get this right, you bike a century, you bike a hundred miles and you run a marathon 26.2 miles all in one session, very impressive indeed that any human body can do that, and I’ve watched an Iron Man Triathlon and I’ve noticed that towards the back of the pack there are people who are overweight. Well, to be able to complete that kind of feat, which even for the fastest people takes most of a day, it requires enormous fuel. In other words, you’re burning like a machine. So how could you possibly be overweight? Well you could possibly be overweight if you’re eating even more than you’re burning, so you’re not matching. So if you go to run a marathon or a half marathon and you don’t lose weight, it would be because you increase your intake to the amount or above what you are now burning. I did this, I ran one marathon years ago, and I thought well for sure I’ll lose weight. But I didn’t lose weight. I gained like 2 or 3 pounds, and I was rally bummed out. I said, “Well what’s the point of that. I’m not going to do that again. That’s no fun”, because my appetite went up and I started eating more and I ate, I slightly overachieved in that department, so I gained a couple pounds. So it’s all about your ability to match. Well how the heck are you going to do that, because your metabolism varies everyday, and it certainly varies by year, by decade of your life, where your hormones are, where your stress levels are, where your body muscle mass is, your metabolism is going to vary by the amount of sleep that you have as well. So how the heck are you going to match it? Well I’ve given you a big clue, haven’t I? You’re going to match it, you have to have some mechanism to tell you how much food to eat. And that mechanism, that beautiful mechanism is the one and only hunger. It’s not some fancy techy thing strapped to your arm. It is hunger. Hunger is what tells you. It is part of the standard equipment of the human body. Now, I’m guessing that some of you are now thinking, “Maybe I didn’t get the standard equipment.” That’s right. Some of you may be thinking, maybe wondering that perhaps you didn’t get the standard equipment because you never feel hungry. There are two reasons that you may never feel hungry. The first is that you may be eating so much that your body never has an opportunity to get hungry. You may be doing this on purpose or you may be doing this by accident. The other reason that you may never get hungry, if that’s the case for you, is because you have decided to turn off to the feelings of your body. Why would anyone do this? The reason that people do this is because at some point they decided, they concluded that feeling the feelings of the body was too painful, and this typically happens as a result of trauma. So if someone is, who’s not eating that much or even when they don’t eat, doesn’t feel any hunger the first thing that I want to look for is trauma, to see if there’s any trauma in their history, because they may have turned off their feelings. Then we can do a trauma process, do some trauma work, to neutralize that trauma. It’s kind of like putting it in a box, sealing it off, neutralizing it so you can reassociate into your body and the rest of your life while feeling completely safe from the traumatic event, so we will do that, and then they begin to feel again. They’ll begin to feel all sorts of things including hunger, including intuition for example. All sorts of cool stuff comes back. Now this has to be managed and some learning has to happen around that, but that’s typically a common reason, that’s a common reason why people will not feel hunger. And the other common reason is that you’re eating to such an extent that you never have an opportunity. So, why are we talking about hunger? Because hunger is something to cultivate. We want to feel hungry. Not ‘fall on the floor, high drama pattern’ hunger, ‘I’m going to pass out because of my blood sugar going so low’, that’s not the type of hunger that I’m talking about. The type of hunger that I’m talking about is the kind that says, “Hey, you’re really going to enjoy your next meal”, because you’re going into it with an appetite. So what does hunger mean to me? Hunger to me says I’m on track, I like to get hungry before lunch and before dinner and ideally before breakfast. If I’m hungry two to three times a day I know that I’m on track. It tells me I’m on track. I’ve eaten the right amount. So I finesse it. I make sure that I’m hungry before lunch and dinner by eating the appropriate amount at the meal before. I like to feel hungry. Again, not fall on the floor, pass out, death is nigh, kind of hunger, but rather the, “Yeah, mmm, I’m really going to enjoy this next meal, I have a good appetite.” So those are the things that hunger means to me, that I’m on track and that I’m really going to enjoy the next meal. These are good things. Hunger means your body is working perfectly and that you have the ability to be naturally slender. Now if you’re not feeling it, I encourage you to experiment with it, and I also encourage you to address whatever may be holding you back from feeling your hunger, ‘cause hunger is a good thing. Now we talked about emotional freedom technique last time, and I want to use emotional freedom technique on hunger phobia to help release you from that, to help you feel comfortable with the idea of really enjoying your meals because you get hungry between them. And we’re out of time for today, but on the next episode I will walk you through a round or two of EFT specifically on hunger phobia. I Can’t wait. That brings us to the end of our show today. Thank you for being present.

Renee Stephens: There are three very powerful guided journeys available for purchase on my site at mindforbody.com, m-i-n-d-f-o-r-b-o-d-y dot com, under the products tab. By the way, I haven’t mentioned this for a while and I’m wondering how your support network is going. I just heard today that there are over 500 members of the Yahoo group alone. This is such an exciting milestone. That’s a great place to support and be supported. There’re other online greats that’s a great place to find a one-to-one support buddy or a walking buddy, whatever kind of support that you need, because research clearly shows that when we have others supporting us on our journey it increases our momentum and our success. So I encourage you to reach out to those around you, to share your journey, support and be supported. As you know, you’ll get many, many, many times more out of this journey than you put in, but you must put in to get out. So get online, find some support buddies, find some friends and make it happen. I know you can. You deserve it. This is your host, Renee Stephens, and I am on a mission to eradicate the weight struggle from the planet, enabling you to know and share your souls gift. Join me as we evolve the world by evolving ourselves. Take good care.